“I leave for college this weekend! I’m so excited but afraid I’m going to miss something important. What are the top five things I need to do, pack, etc?”
First of all, just take a deeeeep breath. As the cliche goes, don’t sweat the small stuff. Enjoy your last few days at home and get ready to embark on this crazy adventure so many love.
1. Spend time with your family.
I know, I know. You want to spend every last second with your high school besties before you all disperse. And you should spend some time with them. But do not neglect your parents and siblings. Some of your mothers are crying daily because you are going off to college. Spend time with your family and make sure they feel loved and appreciated by you before you leave.
2. Pack light.
I never did this well, but you really don’t need everything in your bedroom at home with you at school. Take your clothes and then things you use on a daily basis. You can always buy more things when you get there. And you will. Everyone does a Target or Walmart run after you first move in because your realize you need a lamp or extension chord or more command strips, etc. [A note: if you have a younger sister, know that anything you leave in your closet becomes fair game. She WILL use and wear all of your stuff while you’re away. So, if you really don’t care about taking that sweater to college. Just give it to her.]
3. Take pictures and things that remind you of home & friends.
It may seem silly, but this is one of the first pieces of advice we give to students who get super homesick. We encourage them to decorate their walls with memories and people that they love. Take them with you!
4. Ask you parents for advice.
Gasp. I know. This list is so not what you had hoped for. Either during one of your last family dinners at home or your last meal together in your college town, invite your parents to speak into your life. Say, “Okay Mom and Dad. You know me well. What are the top things you think I need to remember, consider, or just general advice to succeed right now.” Then…LISTEN. Take it in. You may be surprised at the wisdom they impart to you. And they will feel so valued that you want to know their opinion. This will be a huge win for you. Trust me.
5. Get ready to feel like you’re at summer camp.
After your parents say goodbye (prepare for lots of tears), an insane amount of new student programming begins. Most of you will have some sort of 3-5 day orientation experience that feels exactly like summer camp. Practically every hour of your day is scheduled with info sessions, game sessions, get to know the campus sessions, get to know your classmates sessions, etc. DO IT ALL. Seriously. You’ll get to know a ton of people and your university. It’s okay to take a break from 1-2 things a day, but don’t make it a habit. Your school planned all of this crazy fun stuff for you to help you transition to your new home. Take advantage of it all.
I’m so excited for you, all of you class of 2016 students. These next four years are going to be super fun, challenging, surprising, hard, freeing, and so much more. Get ready.